The Eastlands Regeneration Framework
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
Councillor Richards declared a personal interest in this item as a member of the Board of One Manchester.
In March 2019 the Executive had considered a draft of the proposed Eastland Regeneration Framework and had endorsed the draft as the basis for public consultation (Minute Exe/19/35). The Strategic Director – Growth and Development now submitted a report on the outcome of the consultation and on the proposed amendments to the Framework document to take account of the matters that had been raised in the consultation.
The consultation had run from 31 May to 26 June 2019. Letters inviting people to a consultation event had been sent out to around 4,000 residential addresses, landowners, local businesses and residents’ groups in the area. The consultation events were also publicised using the Council’s social media accounts and in other local media. Other elements of the consultation activities had included a drop-in event for residents and local businesses on the 6 June 2019 at Beswick Library; a consultation page on the Council’s website which had provided details of the draft Framework and the opportunity to submit comments; and an email briefing to key public services and statutory providers and to local ward councillors.
The report also explained that SMG (the operators of the Manchester Arena) had confirmed that they had also conducted a campaign to raise awareness of the suggestion in the draft Eastlands Regeneration Framework for an events arena to be developed in Eastlands. SMG had commissioned a public relations agency, Fleishman Hillard Fishburn (FHF), to help raise awareness of the consultation period, the arena proposal and the impacts that might possibly have on the local communities. That awareness campaign had comprised:
• Canvassing at Eastlands ASDA on 14, 19, 20, 21 and 24 June;
• Distributing leaflets through door knocking in Miles Platting and the wider area on 19 June; and
• Distributing the leaflet to 5,700 households on 21 June across Clayton, West Bradford Road and Beswick.
The report explained that the SMG/FHF leaflet had encouraged people to respond directly to the Council through the website. The leaflet itself did not direct people to a copy of the draft Framework. SMG had indicated to the Council that FHF had communicated with in excess of 300 people at the ASDA and at least a further 150 through the door-to-door campaign through estates in Clayton, Miles Platting and Beswick.
The consultation had generated 1,445 unique responses onto the Council's website. Of those: 492 responses were assessed as coming from within the Eastlands Regeneration Framework area; 474 from other "M" postcodes; 355 from other Greater Manchester postcodes; 112 from outside Greater Manchester; and the remainder (12) had not given a postcode or location. The specific proposals for developing the land in and around the New Islington tram stop on Pollard Street had been responded to by way of an online petition on an external website that had been signed by more than 2,600 people. It was not known whether the people signing that online petition were residents of Manchester or elsewhere. The SMG/FHF awareness campaign had also resulted in 329 postcards being submitted.
The report examined the issues that had been raised by those responding to the consultation. At the meeting concerns were expressed that the SMG/FHF campaign had been potentially misleading and undertaken in such a way as to misrepresent the proposals in the draft Framework so as to try to generate local opposition to the possible inclusion in the Framework of the development of an entertainment events arena in the Etihad Campus area. Such a new arena venue would therefore potentially operate in competition with SMG’s existing arena venue in the city centre, giving the company a commercial interest in such proposals being resisted. The leaflet that had been distributed on SMG’s behalf had not made it clear that it was on behalf of a commercial operator with a possible conflicting interest. A copy of the leaflet was appended to the report. The report gave an example of how the leaflet had implied that the development of such an arena would be funded by the Council’s money, which was incorrect and therefore misleading. In the responses to the consultation it was evident that many of the residents had been misled by that, believing that the Council was intended to invest its money in developing a second arena at the Etihad Campus: something the residents had opposed. In truth, no such investment was being considered by the Council.
It was considered to be likely that many of the respondents to the consultation had been responding to the SMG/FHF material and not to the actual draft Framework document. The report explained that many of the concerns that had been raised by those who had responded were already explicitly addressed within the draft Framework. The issues of transportation to and from the Etihad Campus, traffic congestion, air pollution and the potential for car parking to become a significant neighbourhood issue had been raised as issues linked with a potential new large indoor arena. However, the draft Framework already included specific proposals and mitigations for each of those.
The report examined each of the key issues raised by the consultees and also the matters raised by the organisations that had responded. The report set out the Council’s response to each of those, highlighting where the draft Framework document was to be amended to take the outcome of the consultation into account. A copy of that draft Framework was appended to the report.
A number of city-centre commercial organisations had also responded including SMG, the operator of the Manchester Arena; MJV, a company involved in the running of the Arndale; DTZ, and the owner of the Printworks leisure complex. The report detailed the matters that had been raised by each of the significant city-centre respondents, including the potential that a new leisure destination in Eastlands could have a significant adverse impact on the on-going operation of key attractions within the city-centre. In each case the Council’s response to those issues was explained in the report.
The report also examined the consultation responses that had specifically related to the Pollard Street sub-area of the overall Framework area. The draft of the Regeneration Framework had set out a clear intent to bring forward a redevelopment scheme for this sub-area: known as the MXM scheme. It was explained that the MXM scheme proposal and ambition reflected the decisions that had previously made in respect of the redevelopment of this area of land as set out in the Ancoats and New Islington Development Framework that was approved by the Executive in December 2016 after being subject to public consultation (Minute Exe/16/153).
Many respondents in this consultation were opposed to the potential loss of green space around the New Islington tram stop on Pollard Street. The report explained that the proposals being developed for the MXM had taken into account the guidance that had been contained in the Ancoats and New Islington Development Framework. It was anticipated that the scheme would seek to create a new linear green park along the canal from Great Ancoats street all the way through to Milliners Wharf. The park would run over 300 meters in length with an area of over 3,200 sq metres. It was also likely that the development would include new public square at the heart of the MXM scheme of about 140 sq. metres area.
Having considered the matters raised as part of the consultation, the responses to each of those as set out in the report, and the proposed changes to the draft Framework, it was agreed that the proposals contained within the revised Eastlands Regeneration Framework would seek to deliver the Sports and Innovation Zone on the Etihad Stadium and also new opportunities to develop a new leisure and recreation offer with that could further the growth of a sport, leisure and recreation economic cluster across the Eastlands area. Beyond the Etihad Campus the Framework would seek to promote the creation of new commercial development that would contribute to the creation of jobs within the area. The concerns over the possible economic impact on the city centre of the development of a new leisure arena were considered and the responses to those concerns, as set out in the report, were accepted.
It was noted that the report had also been considered at a meeting of the Economy Scrutiny Committee meeting in July. The committee had made three recommendations relating to the adoption of the Framework, which were all accepted (Minute ESC/19/33).
It was agreed that the Development Framework should therefore be adopted. Authority to approve and publish the final version, which would include the amendments arising from the consultation, was delegated to the Strategic Director.
1. To note the summary of issues and comments received from residents, businesses and other interested parties set out in Section 3 to 5 of the report and approve the suggested amendments set out in these sections to the final version of the Eastlands Regeneration Framework.
2. To accept the recommendations made by the Economy Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 18 July 2019 (Minute ESC/19/33):
· to incorporate the Council’s carbon reduction targets into the final version of the Eastlands Regeneration Framework;
· that in respect of new commercial led opportunities associated with the Pollard Street Sub Area, to incorporate the preservation and promotion of high quality public realm and green space within the proposals; and
· to take into account the views of the Committee and Local Ward Councillors in respect of new commercial led opportunities associated with the Etihad Campus Commercial Zone Sub Area.
3. To approve the proposed approach set out in Section 3 of the report in respect of new commercial led opportunities associated with the Pollard Street Sub Area.
4. To approve the proposed approach set out in Section 5 of the report in respect of new commercial led opportunities associated with the Etihad Campus Commercial Zone Sub Area.
5. To delegate to the Strategic Director – Growth & Development, in consultation with the Leader of the Council and the Executive Member for Housing & Regeneration, authority to approve the final version of the Eastlands Regeneration Framework, with the intention that, if approved, it will become a material consideration in the Council’s decision making as a Local Planning Authority.
Report author: Eddie Smith
Publication date: 09/09/2019
Date of decision: 24/07/2019
Decided at meeting: 24/07/2019 - Executive